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Yona of the Dawn Vol. #21 Manga Review

4 min read
The rescue of Riri is appropriately dramatic, even if the circumstances are a logistical and tactical nightmare on both sides.
Yona of the Dawn Vol. #21

An impromptu invasion.

Creative Staff
Story/Art: Mizuho Kusanagi
Translation: JN Productions
Adaptation: Ysabet Reinhardt MacFarlane

What They Say
When Su-won hears of Riri’s abduction, he launches surprise attacks on Sei fortresses in an attempt to save her. Meanwhile, Riri leaves Yona in a forest in order to lure Sei troops away from her. Will Riri escape capture and execution?

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):

Picking up where the previous volume left off, the story continues its rescue mission to save the girls from certain death at the hands of slavers. The generals in charge of the border forts continue the degradation of their captives and give the handful of attackers what they feel is an appropriate response of force. Of course, we know that their attackers are not regular Joe Schmoes and the bad guys learn that lesson too late.

The complications come from the dragons and Hak attempting to hide their identity from the other forces, which turns out to be impossible. The wind tribe members already discovered Hak and have to pretend he’s just some random citizen, which nobody is buying. The dragons are split up with Jaeha and Zeno quickly locating Yona. For once, she doesn’t have to be the one in ultimate peril. Riri doesn’t fare as well, and the general schedules her for execution to set an example.

Riri doesn’t go along peacefully to the execution grounds. She fights back, insults the soldiers, brags about stabbing one of them, all to buy herself time and deflect from the attention on her rescuers. Her plan nearly backfires spectacularly as she is lead to the gallows. This sets up the dramatic western-style rescue where two sworn enemies are forced to work together to save the damsel in distress.

The enemy general is utterly shocked and confused at the strike force that attacks his fort. Even more so when he learns who is attacking him and who Riri is. I can’t say I blame the guy, because what country in their right mind would send all their top generals to a battlefield? Nobody would do that. (The only one not involved is the fire tribe general.) Su-won’s advisors are not exactly happy with this development either, especially not when Hak is shown to be alive despite reports to the contrary.

Once again Yona is forced to admit that Su-won is a good leader and Hak has to deal with the fact that his loyalty and duty are at odds with his desire for revenge. The two young men should have been working side-by-side, but Su-won’s coup salted that earth. They’re in an impossible position were reconciliation will likely never occur.

While Yona herself has seen a great deal of growth over the course of many battles, we finally see Hak grow as well. The most obvious sign that he’s changed is his spontaneous hugs to his team members, which takes everyone by surprise. Then he opens up to Yona about his worries, while she admits that she wants to be closer to him. The tender moments at the end of this volume end up being the highlight. Especially the extra chapter which is a drinking contest that involves even more group bonding.

In Summary
Yona and the crew rescue their friend from certain doom, outing themselves in the process to most of the leaders of their own country. The rescue of Riri is appropriately dramatic, even if the circumstances are a logistical and tactical nightmare on both sides. Once again, Kusanagi is a better character writer than a military buff. With yet another conflict put to bed, it’s time for some much-needed reflection. Yona finally approaching Hak and leaving behind her attachment for Su-won is a huge step forward for the series as a whole. It will be interesting to see where everyone goes from here.

Content Grade: B
Art Grade: B +
Packaging Grade: B
Text/Translation Grade: A –

Age Rating: Teen
Released By: Viz Media
Release Date: December 3, 2019
MSRP: $9.99 US / $12.99 CN / £6.99 UK

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